An empirical investigation of forecasting methods for ambulance calls - a case study

Mohamed Al-Azzani, Soheil Davari, Tracey Jane England

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A primary goal of emergency services is to minimise the response times to emergencies whilst managing operational costs. This paper is motivated by real data from the Welsh Ambulance Service which in recent years has been criticised for not meeting its eight-minute response target. In this study, four forecasting approaches (ARIMA, Holt Winters, Multiple Regression and Singular Spectrum Analysis (SSA)) are considered to investigate whether they can provide more accurate predictions to the call volume demand (total and by category) than the current approach on a selection of planning horizons (weekly, monthly and 3-monthly). Each method is applied to a training and test set and root mean square error (RMSE) and mean absolute percentage error (MAPE) error statistics are determined. Results showed that ARIMA is the best forecasting method for weekly and monthly prediction of demand and the long-term demand is best predicted using the SSA method.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHealth Systems
Early online date25 Jun 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Jun 2020

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